Review: Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton

Being a fan of old school British rock music, I have grown up listening to a lot of great blues rock musicians and deciding to look back at their beginnings has been in an interesting experience.

Due to a friends recommendation, I took a dip into the John Mayall discography. Primarily listening to his ’60s albums and admiring the impressive line up of musicians involved. One of the most impressive being the second album from John Mayall & The Blues Breakers which features none other than God himself on guitar, Eric Clapton.

Back when this album was recorded, Clapton had only made a handful of records and Mayall himself was still a little green. The combination of the two is one of the most enjoyable early blues records to come out of the British isles at the time. Stylistically you will hear a lot of similarities to a lot of blues rock bands that dominated the scene in the late ’60s and I assume that Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton has something to do with that.

Equipped with a handful of original material and some great choices of blues standards, Mayall and friends put on a solid performance as they act as a platform for Clapton to show off his blues. It doesn’t take long for the guitar to wail in All Your Love and continues on through out the entire album. The Freddie King cover version, Hideaway is excellent and I also loved Ramblin’ On My Mind, originally recorded by Robert Johnson.

The rhythm section formed by Hughie Flint and a pre-Fleetwood Mac John McVie do a great job of holding the groove. Mayall himself sounds great. He doesn’t contribute any guitar but instead handles all the piano, organ, harmonica and the majority of lead vocals. Production wise, Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton has held up very well. The raw ’60s live sound really works in the groups favour with a good thick sound and one of the best guitar tones I think I’ve heard from Clapton.

Personally speaking, this is not quite as good as Derek and the Dominos in regards to Clapton’s creativity but it certainly comes close. You can tell the chemistry from the band is perfect and it makes for one of the best British blues rock albums from this time period. If it does take your fancy, I would recommend listening to it in mono due to the harsh panning in the gimmicky stereo print.

 

Rating : 9 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. All Your Love
  2. Hideaway
  3. Little Girl
  4. Another Man
  5. Double Crossing Time
  6. What'd I Say
  7. Key To Love
  8. Parchman Farm
  9. Have You Heard
  10. Ramblin' On My Mind
  11. Steppin' Out
  12. It Ain't Right